War Letters – New Guinea: 10 Feb 1944, Townsville; Killing time waiting

W.E. Pidgeon
C/o P.R. Unit
7 Murray St.
Stanton Hill
Townsville

Thurs. 10th
[10 February 1944]

Darling,

As you can see by the letter head I am back on the mainland, killing time while I wait for transport up to Cairns.1Permission had been granted for Wep to travel to the Atherton Tableland where he would make some sketches of several recipients of the Military Medal  In all probability I shall be home in a week’s time.  Have a nice steak in the house – and a cold bottle of course.

Will you please send me a page, or about 20 clothing coupons.  Do not send the book as the Officer’s shop will accept loose coupons.  I want to buy a pair of shoes they are very good and only 25/-.  Post them as soon as you get this letter for I shall only be about 3 or 4 days up north.  Shall then try and get home on the flying boat which gets to Sydney about 5 o’clock which, I hope, will just give us time to dash off a quick one at Coy’s.2Harold and Bassie Coy ran the Hotel Hunters Hill, a favoured drinking spot of Wep and Jess.

How are all the parlour geese there?  Can Molly3Molly Turton get through the swing doors now?  Got any home brew?

Had a fine trip down from the island.  Left at four on a slightly cloudy but moonlight morning and arrived here at 7.30 am.  That’s good going.  The dawn was really magnificent coming on while we were flying above the great cumulus clouds.  The effect was brilliantly violent.  It was a Superman sunrise.

Have struck Bill Marien4Bill Marien was a former colleague of Wep’s at the Daily Telegraph and was now an Official War Correspondent working for the ABC., who, by the way, is married to that girl and has a kid about 18 month’s old.  We had dinner at the Officer’s Club5Hotel Seaview on The Strand and a quantity to drink.  It affected me poorly and I am now happily feeling the retirement of the ragged hangover that accompanied my awakening.  The rest of my time has been spent dismally sitting on my bum and gloomily reading old Lifes, Reader’s Digests, Mans and other sundry publications.

Have just heard that I will be moving off tomorrow.

If you happen to be going to town will you pop into Moore’s Bookshop next the Criterion Hotel and ask if they have a copy of the cheap edition of Laurence’s (sic)6T.E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  Also can you get me, at any bookstore a copy of Cleanliness and Godliness by Reginald Reynolds?

Have only had one letter from you so that if you have happened to send others I must presume their demise in the Jungle Hells of NG.

Nothing else of interest at the moment.  So accept my utmost adoration.  Your devoted willie.

 

[It is most probable that Bill visited the Atherton Tablelands on Saturday, February 12 where he sketched several men who had recently been awarded the Military Medal. They were Sgt Wyatt, Sgt. Marney and Pte. N. Blundell.7Details of the incidents that earned these men the MM are available from James Parker’s site, Teller of Yarns – William Edwin Pidgeon: Sketching Battles of WWII. (2024, January 19). Retrieved from https://www.tellerofyarns.com/post/william-edwin-pidgeon-sketching-battles-of-wwii Afterwards Wep hitched a ride with Major C.H. Cheong, editor of the Army newspaper ‘Table Tops’ who drove him to Cairns. It is estimated that he made it home by Thursday, 17 February 1944.]

Sgt. Arthur James Wyatt, MM
Sgt. Ray McDonald Marney, MM
Pte. Neville Blundell, MM

Notes:

  • 1
    Permission had been granted for Wep to travel to the Atherton Tableland where he would make some sketches of several recipients of the Military Medal
  • 2
    Harold and Bassie Coy ran the Hotel Hunters Hill, a favoured drinking spot of Wep and Jess.
  • 3
    Molly Turton
  • 4
    Bill Marien was a former colleague of Wep’s at the Daily Telegraph and was now an Official War Correspondent working for the ABC.
  • 5
    Hotel Seaview on The Strand
  • 6
    T.E. Lawrence
  • 7
    Details of the incidents that earned these men the MM are available from James Parker’s site, Teller of Yarns – William Edwin Pidgeon: Sketching Battles of WWII. (2024, January 19). Retrieved from https://www.tellerofyarns.com/post/william-edwin-pidgeon-sketching-battles-of-wwii

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